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TikTok is full of advice on how to ace your job interview — but not all of those tips are actually a good idea, some recruiters say.
It’s smart to come prepared with questions for your interviewer when they inevitably ask if you have any. But one question often floated as a way to make yourself stand out could actually end your interviews prematurely.
“When you ask questions at the end of your interview and ask your interviewer, “Do you have any hesitations about my candidacy?′ That is the worst advice,” says Farah Sharghi, who estimates she’s conducted more than 10,000 interviews at companies like Google, Lyft and TikTok. “Do not do that.”
Why it’s a bad idea
First of all, Sharghi says, you don’t always know if the person interviewing you is making any hiring decisions, let alone the final one, for the role. When Sharghi was a recruiter at Google, for example, candidates interviewed with members of a hiring committee, who would then submit feedback to the person making the hiring decision, and it wasn’t always the person managing the role.
Asking someone who doesn’t do the hiring why you might not be hire-able shows a naivete about how the interviewing process works, Sharghi says.
“You’re putting someone on the spot who is going to be put in a very uncomfortable [position],” she adds.
Second, and most crucially, asking this type of question can introduce doubt into your otherwise stellar qualifications.
“If I mention ‘pink elephant,’ what do you think of immediately? You’re visualizing in your head a pink elephant,” Sharghi explains. So, “when you’re asking this question, ‘Do you have any hesitancies about my candidacy?’ Maybe the interviewer was thinking, ‘Well, I actually really liked this person, but now you’ve introduced hesitancy into my head.’”
That alone could cause the interviewer to think, “Maybe I should hesitate to hire this person” or “Let me think of the negative reasons why we shouldn’t hire this person,” Sharghi says
“Why would you lead someone down the path of saying no? Don’t do this. Let them say yes,” she says.
What to ask instead
Instead, pose questions where you can focus on your strengths rather than your shortcomings.
Former HR professional Natalie Fisher says one question she always tells people to ask during interviews is, “If the new hire was to achieve one thing that would blow your mind, what would it be?”
Once the interviewer responds with the task, mention if you’ve ever hit a similar goal in your experience. If you haven’t, you can instead respond with follow-up questions that show your enthusiasm to deliver on it, and explain why you have what it takes.
When done well, Fisher says, clients say asking this question has helped them land an offer on the spot.